This is one Lexus product we don’t mind driving whenever it’s available. Probably our favorite Lexus product, the IS2005 is way fun.

Sounds silly, I know, but with so many vehicles available today, the differences in them begin to disappear. Especially partial to performance vehicles, Lexus doesn’t necessarily fit this category. But the IS200t drives and acts a little like a performance car, and we welcome that.

Revamped in 2014, the IS took on a little bit of an edgy look, resembling Lexus’ NX trim versions. It’s about time, we thought. While this sedan is not large by any stretch of the imagination, it is agile, and fun to drive.

In the entry-level IS 250, Toyota plunked the 2.5-liter V6 engine. Adding a turbo engine and/or the 3.5-liter V6, coupled with Lexus’ F-Sport package, made the IS a real contender. Handling was much improved, and the car’s all-around feel felt, well, less Lexus-like.

The new powerplant in the IS is now a 2.0-liter twin-scroll Turbocharged inline 4-cylinder with VVT and 241 horse. Our test vehicle, although carrying a near-luxury price tag of $37,325 quickly become a lot more pricey once a few ‘special’ options were added.

Our test IS 200t came equipped with a lot of standard features, as expected, and an added couple of options: Blind Spot Monitor cross-traffic alert heated outside mirror ($600), F-Sport package ($3,545), Navigation system/Mark Levinson Audio System, 5.1 surround 17-speakers, 835 watts, remote touch interface, Lexus Enform Destinations, App Suite, Voice Command, Lexus Insider, Electrochromic auto–dimming rearview mirror ($2,645), Dynamic Radar Cruise Control w/Pre-collision System ($500), Preium Paint ($595), F-Sport perforated leather heated steering wheel with paddle shifters ($150). Yikes.

Hard to give up a few of these goodies; namely, the Mark Levinson stereo. We had so much fun throwing in sound tracks form The Imitation Game and The Danish Girl, and ramping up the volume. The F-Sport package, in this writer’s opinion, is also a must.

So be ready to shell out some big bucks for this compact-ish sedan. Some may not have warmed up to the new styling out of Lexus; we like it and believe it was time to do something different; read: less bland.

Competing with the likes of Mercedes C300, BMW 328i, Infiniti and Acura, the IS 200 may fall somewhat short, but in some ways, we’re talking apples/oranges.

Lexus’ 200t’ model name also sits on the Lexus NX small crossover, Lighter than the crossover, the IS 200t benefits with the same engine. Not a record-breaker but top speed is claimed to be 148 mph. The car seems to hold the corners well, and although somewhat ‘light,’ navigates normal roadways with a little understeer, Once all four tires are on the pavement, the IS 200t appears confident
The consensus was to definately opt for the special paint: Ultrasonic Blue Mica. At the ‘premium’ price of $595, it is a real gift to yourself, but stands out.

The IS 200t’s interior isn’t award-winning, but comfortable. This is a tight fitting cabin, however. It somehow feels good as the driver has the feeling of being ‘tucked in.’ Not a lot of room for movement, however. Stats state seating is 2/3! There is a regular rear seat, but not recommended for long trips.

Now that we are accustomed to the ‘joystick’ that navigates your display, audio, we kind of like it. There are, of course, various versions of these controls throughout autoland. Some better than others.


MSRP: $37,325, total vehicle price $46,300, destination $940
Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder inline, Variable Valve Timing Intelligent Wide, 241 horsepower, 258 lb-ft torque
Transmission: 8-speed automatic w/ECT-i
Wheelbase: 110.2 in.
Height: 56.3 in.
Width: 71.3 in.
Length: 183.7 in.
Curb Weight: 3,583 lbs.
EPA fuel economy: 22/33 mpg.
Fuel tank capacity: 17.4 gal.
Tires: 225/45R17 all-season
Wheels: 17-inch aluminum
Warranty: 4 yr./50,000-miles basic; 6 yr/70,000-miles drivetrain